THE SENIOR generation should be seen as a “demographic bounty” who can contribute an enormous amount to society, the Irish Times /Pfizer Health Forum heard at NUI Galway last week.
Serious inadequacies in supporting the health needs of the elderly, along with deficiencies in the Government’s Fair Deal scheme for financing nursing-home care, were also highlighted at the forum, which was attended by several hundred people.
The meeting, on the theme of “the ignored demographic – older people in Ireland”, was chaired by Irish Times assistant editor Fintan O’Toole. The panellists were Minister of State for Older People Áine Brady, Merlin Park Hospital consultant in geriatric medicine Dr Shaun O’Keeffe, Age Action chief executive Robin Webster, and Active Retirement chief executive Maureen Kavanagh.
Introducing the discussion, O’Toole said the subject was a “rubric under which a vast number of very important topics gather”, and he referred to the “moving” television interview with Michael Noonan on RTÉ’s The Frontline , broadcast on May 31st, where the former Fine Gael leader spoke about coping with his wife’s Alzheimer’s.